Thinking of St. Joseph and Tatang


Today is the birthday of my father. It is strange that I have grown closer to him now in my old age. I often think about him and have felt myself be closer to him than ever. I have come to appreciate him better. I now understand his silences, his quiet moments. I am grateful for his love for learning which I see alive even in my grandchildren. He was the first in his big family to go to college. He inspired several nephews and nieces to also love learning and excel academically as well. I even understand now how and why he would sometimes explode when things simply got too much to bear. But he was a charmer, always ready with his very disarming smile.

Often lately, I wish I could have done more for my father when he was still areound. I tried to show my love for him when he was alive. But being where he was then and I being his age now, I realize there were a lot of other things I could have done for him. If indeed we get to choose who our parents would be, I have chosen well choosing my Tatang and Ima.

In a lot of ways, Tatang reminds me a lot of Saint Joseph. Joseph was a man of few words. He appears only in the Infancy narratives of the Gospels. And there is not a single word that he was quoted as saying. Tatang was also a man of few words. But I knew he was deep.

Joseph was a dreamer. He got his instructions from God in his dreams. When I was a kid, I would often catch my father staring at the ceiling lost in his daydreams. There were times, he shared with me some of these dreams. I was not really listening then, engrossed as I was with my games and toys. Now, in my old age, I try to recall and reconstruct those half-remembered conversations with him.

Joseph was a carpenter. Tatang came from a family of carpenters. He grew up to be a teacher -the only professional in their family. And guess what he taught. Building Construction, which is a glorified title for carpentry skills. He also taught himself drafting skills and was accepted as an architect among his peers.

I sometimes wonder in my prayers what traits did Jesus acquire or inherit from Joseph. His decisiveness? His perseverance and persistence? Definitely his goodness and kindness.

I am deeply grateful for the gift of life I have received through Tatang and Ima. I find inspiration and affirmation that I have been instrumental in bringing life to seven other beings into this world. Our three sons, we were able to plan and prepare for to a certain extent. Our four grandchildren were totally beyond our control. Nothing I could think of or imagine has prepared me for the joys and fulfilment they have brought into our lives. Indeed, everything is grace. Everything I have received and gone through is gift. Undeserved. I have done nothing to merit what I have been given as gift and grace.

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